The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Using Gmail Like a Pro

Managing your email can be a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. Many people make the mistake thinking they can’t control their growing Gmail inbox, but actually the platform has a wide range of tools and tricks to help increase your organization and productivity.

Don’t get buried in your inbox – these 25 tips will get you using Gmail like a pro in no time.

1. Learn keyboard shortcuts

Get to know Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts and save time by not having to use your mouse. A complete list from Google can be found here. (Note that some shortcuts you can use immediately while others need to be enabled in your settings.)

2. Create canned responses

Do you regularly get emails that require the same responses? Create a set of canned responses to quickly drop into your email draft for quicker responding. To set up the responses, go to Settings (from the gear icon) > Labs > Canned Responses.

3. Access advanced search

You probably know that you can search your Gmail inbox by typing in keywords in the search bar at the top of the page but, if you’re sifting through mass amounts of messages, you want to be more specific to find what you’re looking for quickly.

To access the advanced search feature, click of the little triangle next to the magnifying glass search button to then choose from a drop down menu of search filters.

4. Focus your search even further

Alternatively, you can also focus and filter your search yourself by typing in special codes into the search bar.

For example, if you’re looking for a certain image file in an email you can search for the possible topic or key word then add “filename: jpg” to bring up only jpeg files. If you know the message you’re looking for came in before or after a certain date, filter emails by including “before:” or “after:” then the date in question.

5. Default to “reply all”

If you often are on group emails that require you to reply to everyone, change your settings so “Reply All” is your default way of responding. To do this, go to Settings > General > Reply Behavior and click “Reply All”.

6. Manage multiple accounts

Have different email addresses from different providers? You can have them all directed to your Gmail inbox so you don’t have to constantly be logging in and out of different platforms.

7. Send messages from different addresses

You can also send out emails from different email addresses all from your Gmail account. Add another email address by going to Settings > Account > Import then clicking on “Add” in the “Send mail as” section.

When you draft an email you can then choose which email address you’d like to send the message from in a drop down menu.

8. Set your inbox template

Not all Gmail inboxes have to look alike. Click on the gear icon to play around with different settings and themes to better fit your personal style and workflow.

9. Choose the best display density

You can also change how much information is shown in your inbox, and how much white space is on the page, by changing your display density making it easier to scan down the page. Again you can change this by going to the gear icon and choosing “Comfortable”, “Cozy” or “Compact” under “Display Density”.

10. Turn on personal level indicators

Immediately see which emails are sent directly to you, multiple people, or are part of a mailing list by turning on personal level indicators. Gmail will then display two arrows, one arrow or zero arrows next to incoming messages in your inbox.

Go to Settings > General and click “Show indicators” in the “Personal level indicators” section.

11. Send out autoresponders

Heading out on vacation or away from your desk for a while? Set up an away message that automatically responds to incoming mail. The “Vacation Responder” set up can be found in the General tab under Settings.

12. Delegate your inbox

If you can’t respond to messages for a while or need help getting your inbox under control, you can delegate other users to access your inbox so they can read, respond and delete messages for you. Start by going to Settings > Accounts and Import and clicking “Add another account” under the “Grant access to your account” section.

13. View recent account activity

To see how others have been active in your inbox, or if you have a feeling your inbox has been wrongly accessed, you can check recent account activity, click “Details” after “Last account activity” found the bottom of every Gmail page.

14. Jump onto a video call

You can start a video call using Google Hangouts contacts straight from your Gmail by clicking on the small camcorder icon in the left-hand sidebar.

15. Customize your inbox tabs

Gmail automatically divides your inbox into “Primary”, “Social” and “Promotions”, but those tabs are customizable. Click on the gear icon then “Configure Inbox” and you’ll be able to choose from four different filtered tabs.

16. Use labels instead of folders

Gmail allows you to organize and file your messages by folders and labels – the big difference between the two is that labels let you put multiple relevant tags on one message instead of completely keeping it only in a single folder.

17. Automatically filter messages

Immediately filter what messages you see as they come in. While you have a message open click on the “More” button and choose “Filter messages like these”. This can help cut down on the amount of junk or non-urgent emails cluttering your inbox.

18. Request read receipts

If you’re sending something important, or want to know exactly when the recipient actually opens and sees your message, you can request a read receipt by clicking on the “More” button when drafting and email and selecting “Request read receipt”.

19. Mute conversations

We’ve all been on those never-ending email chains that have nothing to do with us. Next time this happens, simply “mute” the email thread. Again, click on the “More” button when the message is open and select “Mute Conversation”.

You’ll only see new messages in the thread if they’re addressed directly to you and you can also find muted conversations by searching with “is:muted”.

20. Send your email later

Usually it’s fine to send the emails you’re working on right away, but other times you may be preparing messages that should go out later in the day or week. To do this, install the Boomerang app for Gmail which allows you to draft an email and then schedule a specific time it should be sent out.

The app can also remind you if you haven’t gotten a response on an important message.

21. Enable undo send

Just sent that inappropriate joke to the wrong person? You can actually undo it – but be quick! You first need to enable the undo send lab by going to Settings > Labs > Enable undo send.

22. Use Gmail offline

When you’re traveling, somewhere with low connectivity, or limiting your Wi-Fi access so you can focus on your work you can still use Gmail. Gmail Offline is a Chrome app that allows you to read, draft, respond, delete and archive messages without being connected to the internet.

23. Make the most of the mobile app

Sometimes managing your inbox on your phone is quicker than on your desktop since you can delete or archive messages with just a swipe of the finger instead of multiple clicks.

24. Easily see your inbox count

Enable a Google labs extension to show a tiny number of new, unread messages in your browser tab. This is great for users who always seem to have 20 tabs open at the same time – you can quickly glance and see how many new messages have come through without clicking through to open your Gmail tab.

Simply go to Settings  > Labs > Unread message icon.

25. View multiple inboxes at once

Create different custom inboxes that are visible on your home screen at the same time by going to Settings > Labs > Multiple inboxes and setting up the filters or different accounts you want easy access to.

Want even more tips to help you become a Gmail ninja? Google has broken out all its Gmail tips and tricks into four levels here.

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